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By TwitterButtons.com

Monday, April 03, 2006

Weep! Motivation for Repentance

In prepping for a class on the virtues of "mourning", I remembered an article that I had read several years ago, impacting my understanding of the problem of evil, suffering, and repentance.

The essay is from a book edited by Fr. Seraphim Rose entitled "Russia's Catacomb Saints". It is an interesting and sobering book as it tells the stories of Orthodox Christians persecuted in Soviet Russia.

One of the persons highlighted is a Russian philosopher named I.M. Andreyev. He appears to be a brilliant man who was persecuted by the Soviets and eventually made it to America where he lived his final days. The following excerpt is from his life and describes an essay that he wrote entitled "Weep!".

"This article, entitled simply "Weep!" and dedicated to the memory of Dostoevsky...tells simply of one of the cold and senseless crimes of a large American city. A 29 year old mother in New York City, in a fit of rage, beat to death her two month old son, leaving him unimaginably deformed; and she expressed no regret over her crime. Andreyev describes the wounds suffered by the small body with sickening clinical detail--and then stops, knowing that many readers will protest against such 'uneccesary' details. 

'People have become deaf to sufferings. They either do not hear or do not wish to hear about what is done, not in a nightmare, but in reality.' He calls to the Orthodox conscience of his readers. 'All for one and one for all are guilty: this is the essence of the social ethic of Christianity...We are all guilty, for we are sinful; we do evil, contribute our evil to the universal storehouse of evil. 

"And this evil accumulates into an immense universal energy of evil and seeks for its incarnation the vessels of bodies without grace, and when it finds them it becomes incarnate in them and they perform great evil deeds...Let each one think of himself...What were you doing on that eveing when this unbelievable but authentic evil deed was performed?

Perhaps it was your sin, your immoral deed, your malice, which turned out to be the last little drop which caused the vessel of evil to overflow. This is the way we must reflect, if we are Christians...

"'Weep, brothers and sisters! Do not be ashamed of these tears! 

 Weep! And let these tears be the fount in which the Lord will baptise the child-martyr, who was probably unbaptized, being chrismated--in place of oil--with his innocent child's blood. 

 Weep! Let your tears also be a fount of a different energy, an energy of good that fights against the energy of evil, which by its power will save at least one child from innocent tortures and at least one criminal mother from an unforgiveable sin. 

 Let these tears also awaken many of the indifferent...Do not be ashamed to weep with tears of grief, compassion, and repentance.'"


Sobering words...

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